Wrestling and Business

kolat-islamov-single-leg-battleIf you’ve read any of my blogs in the past, you are aware that I am a former wrestler and my love for the sport did not die when my high school career ended.  I learned a lot from hanging around the wrestling room and actually being on the mat.  from time to time, I like to write about how the lessons I learned apply to what I do today.  My blogs are probably mostly a cathartic exercise for myself, but I’d like to think that there might be a lesson or two (alright one lesson) mixed in there.

I’m young-ish and I know I have a lot to learn about my field of work (marketing and advertising), but there are quite a few things that have become quite obvious in my not so tenured professional existence. In this blog I will talk about a few of them and those of you who couldn’t care less about wrestling can just skip over those parts.  Deal?

I’m a tactical person.  Maybe even to a fault.  I have the beginnings of a strategic mindset, but it still needs to be developed.  When you haven’t full developed a skill, you (me at least) tend to fall back on the things that you know that you’re good at and the things that need to be further developed get pushed aside.

What I’ve learned is this: You cannot continue to fallback to your comfort zone and you need to find ways to get the job done well, but push yourself to think about things differently.

A Story:

When I was younger, I was quite obvious that I would rarely be the stronger person in a wrestling match.  This was partly because I was too lazy to do the work I needed to do to gain strength.  Lesson learned.  Anyhow, because I wasn’t the strongest, I built my wrestling style so that I could use my leverage and hips to score a takedown every once in a while.  This worked on most opponents, but when it came to the big matches, I simply did not have the skills to win.


Sure, you can be successful by being good at a few things, but if you really want to be the best at your job, you have to evolve and you have to keep adding to your skill sets.

The outcome of your efforts has much more to do with your desire to finish a job well than it does with all of the events that lead up to the defining moment.

A Story:

Ask any amateur wrestler what practice was like and they will likely respond, “It was hell.”  Besides being “hell”, most practices are pretty much the same.  You drill takedowns, bottom position, top position, you go live and then you run.  Drilling is redundant and tedious, but it’s essential.  They say you perform how you practice and I would agree.  the problem with this is that practice and competition (performance as it relates to business) are two completely different mindsets.  One is a safe environment and the other can be terrifying.  When it’s one man against another in the middle of a gymnasium, you either love it or hate it.  It’s probably a healthy mix of both for most people, if it wasn’t why would they do the sport?  Anyhow, I used to practice and drill and drill and drill some more, but when it came to competition, I had a tough time finishing my takedowns.


Practice and preparation are key to opening up the door to opportunity.  The problem with opportunity is that you usually only have one chance to capitalize on it.  There are hundreds of setup moves in wrestling and a handful of ways to shoot a single leg, but if you aren’t willing to finish (see the job through), well, all of your efforts are for naught.  Whenever you take on a new project, make sure that you’re prepared for everything the project might present and be aware of the things that might occur out of nowhere.

 All the preparation is the world will never make up for a lack of desire to see a project through to the end.

There are plenty more “stories”, but this is long enough.  Leave a comment and let me know what else you think is important in order to build a foundation for success.

Without wax,